Going on a mini-vacation

June 28, 2009

This weekend, we have been just hanging out at home. It's been windy, cool, and overcast. But after a while, the kids become almost hyper because they have to much energy, and no where to run and burn it. They then get in trouble for doing things they are not supposed to do. That is when I get the play d'oh out. It instantly calms them down, and keeps them focused.

Look, they were even sharing! I love those quiet and sweet moments in the middle of a cahotic and stressful day when they just don't seem to be able to get along.

Tomorrow we will be busy and out of the house for a good part of the day though. And then Tuesday we are off for a mini-vacation! The kids and I (hubby is still away for work) will be going to visit my sister-in-law. Her hubby and kids are on vacation at the other end of the country and she will be pretty lonely, so she invited us to spend Canada day with her. (She lives 4.5 hours away) I cant wait! We get along so well, we are very close friends. It will be my first road trip this far, by myself with both my kids, and I'm excited! We are coming back home Friday and Saturday my better half will be home on days off. We decided that, weather permitting, we will be taking our little family camping for the first time. I have never been camping, and neither have the kids, but I love the outdoors, so it should be a fun experience. But I'm not sure what I am most excited about: what we are going to do, or where we are going to do it. We will be going to Jasper (Alberta). It's my favourite place, ever! Mountains, waterfalls, cute little shops, lovely restaurants, wild mountain goats and deers on the side of the highway, it's amazing! I always come back from there with the best pictures ever. So if the weather is nice and we go camping, I will not be able to post until a week from now. But I will come back with pictures and stories I'm sure.

Hope you all enjoy your week, I know I am going to!

Thrifting away

I decided to visit my local thrift store for the first time last Tuesday. I don't know why I had never been there before. I've lived in this town for 2 years, and I love a good bargain. I came across these goodies pictured on the left. (minus a sweater for my daughter that I forgot to add in the picture. That was it, I was hooked!



I Iwent back when they were opened again on Friday, because it turns out that my nephew is into these Goosebumps books that I had seen on Tuesday. Luckily, they were still there and I snatched all 10 of them, for a mere $2.50. Yes, that's right, the price was for ALL of them, not each! And the pooh book was for my Baby Girl and chalk for both my kids. I was so excited!



Also, a couple weeks ago, a friend of mine was having a yard sale and I got these as well. The bucket is a 100 pieces wood blocks and my kids LOVE them!!! And so do I. I now have a new love affair with wood toys. They are the best, and definitely tough enough for a rambuncious 3 year old boy! Weather it's a thrift store, or a yard sale, I believe I will be going more often from now on, just like I used to a long time ago. Who knows, maby mama will find a second hand juicer, food processor or dehydrator I've been really wanting?


And here is a few more things that I found at the new kids consignment store that just opened near my home. The coloring book is a Giant floor coloring pad. We had a few of them before and it always kept my kids really busy. But they are around $8-9 and I got this (unused) one for $4. My kids definitely don't need anything else for a long while, since they already had alot of toys, but I could not pass this up! Especially books, you can never go wrong with books. It actually made them EXTRA interested in their books again. And they are constantly asking me to read to them now, not just at night time anymore. I think that's great. Before, I would try to read to them during the day , either to fill up our day, or to calm them down, and they would not sit still. Now, they demand it, and it's fine by me!




And here is a picture that I took of my Baby Girl this evening. Not only do I read to her before bed every night, but once I leave her room, she keeps going through her books, looking at the pictures. I just thought it was so cute that she "read" until she fell asleep! But what you cant see, is the huge pile of books on the floor by her bed that she apparently took out to look at after I left her room.
And when they outgrow their books, we will "re-donate" them to the thrift store. Because at 25 cents a piece they charge, it's worth supporting the community, and my wallet.

You are invited

June 25, 2009

I just found one of the most visually yummy site I have ever seen. I was reading over on Kimberlee's blog at Brown Button and she was talking about the cupcake courier she had just bought. I had never seen one before, or even heard of it. Here is what a cupcake courier is:





How practical is that? If you bake cupcakes, of course. But even if you don't, I bet it makes you want to start, now does it?! They have them in white, blue, pink, and two shades of yellow. You can check out the side here.
They also have some "cup-a-cake" for transporting individual cupcakes, for a kids lunch for example. they come in so many yummy colours too! I know, I know, I'm starting to use the word yummy allot in this post. But really, they just look so decadent, colorful and...yummy :)
While I was browsing the website, I started day dreaming. All those pretty colors and girly things made me think of a tea party. I don't remember playing tea party when I was little, but maby I did. And I have never been to a real one as an adult either. However, I do remember, once when I was maby around 12 or so, my mom made tea for me as well as for her this one time. She even took out these almond flavoured cookies, and set them on a pretty plate. We had tea together at the kitchen table and I remember really having fun and enjoying spending that special time with her.
So anyway, back to my day dreaming...
I was thinking, what if I could host a tea party. Of course, I would have cupcakes that I would have previously made myself, just so I could use my cupcake courier (that I don't actually own). I would serve some tiny sandwiches, because isn't all food tiny at tea parties? (cupcakes=mini cake) I would also have done my hair very simply, but pretty, and would wear a simple dress. Black, or white. And on top of my dress, I would maby wear one of these:


Because they are pretty and girly enough to wear as a dress, but there would be some issues when I turn around, so I think wearing a simple dress under would be more appropriate ;) Now, what you do on your own time, is your business, hehehe! (sorry, mind out of gutter, back to tea party)



These are just a few things I would leave laying around the kitchen or on the patio table outside, to add a splash of color. One the left, are cupcake toppers. But you could also just use them as a table decoration if you wanted to. (I could so see my daughter having those on her cupcakes for her next birthday!)











These beautiful lanterns would be hanging from the trees in my equally beautiful yard (that I don't have. Apartment, remember?) And I would give all my guests these beautiful star sugars as party favors, so they can enjoy them at home and reminisce about how great the tea party was and what fun we all had!







Thanks for coming! (and for playing along :)
Note: Sorry about the strange layout, this blog is not cooperating with me today.

The perfect dish

June 24, 2009

It's getting quite a bit warmer here, and my 3rd floor apartment starts to feel like an oven halfway through the day. So that means, I am going to start craving some refreshing meals that require the least amount of cooking as possible. Although a salad made with greens may come to mind, sometimes, you want something a bit more substantial than just greens and veggies. Here is my perfect recipe for those times!


Blueberry and Wild Rice Salad


1 cup brown and wild rice
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped apricots
1/2 cup chopped red onions
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp honey (or agave nectar)
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp lime zest
6 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed


Combine the rice with the vegetable broth and enough water to cover by 1 inch, in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender. Let cool at room temp.

Stir in the cranberries, almonds, apricots and red onions. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, ginger and lime zest. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the rice mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the thawed blueberries. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 to 6. (original recipe can be found on
http://www.vegcooking.com/)

The mix of textures and flavours in this dish is amazing. I don't think I've ever tried anything else like this. And I'm not usually a fan of red onions, but you need it in this dish, otherwise, it's too sweet almost. The onion adds a needed "bite" of flavour, the apricots adds some chewiness, and the almonds something crunchy. It can serve a big crowd as a side dish, or in my case, a few main courses, because I love this stuff!!! Cant get my kids to eat it though. They don't like when things are all mixed up like that, and my son does not really like rice anyways, so I guess it's more for me. Would that not be an awesome dish to bring to a potluck though?

If you ever try it, let me know what you think!

This is how I eat

June 23, 2009

I am writing this post just to clear a few things up. It seems lately, everyone is either curious about what/how I eat, or is worried that I am depriving myself of important nutrients.

So here it is: I eat some of everything! I really do. I went vegetarian twice in the last year, but I am eating meat again for the moment. Not alot of it, but every few days I would say. I started learning about the raw food lifestyle a few months ago and have been hungry for learning about it as much as I can since (pun intended). I have learned alot about nutrition thanks to reading about raw foods, even lost some weight in the process (14 lbs to be exact, without really trying hard). I also buy more organic produce than before... well, ok. I did not buy any organic anything before. But I have come to the conclusion that a raw vegan diet, just would not work for me at this time. Maby some day, but definately not now. (for information about raw foods, if your curious, just go to one of the many raw blogs that I follow, listed on the side of my blog, for information, recipes and pictures).



Raw foods have taught me about green smoothies though, something I have everyday. It's just the perfect way for me to start my day, after a glass of lemon water. A couple times a week, I might have organic oatmeal, with flax, maple syrup, raisins and hemp hearts instead.

  • Morning snack, a few raw almonds or raw cashews and some water.
  • Lunch might be some cooked chicken and a salad, or some pasta followed by some fresh fruit.
  • I always have an afternoon snack, and lately, that tends to be a coffee, or chai tea with a homemade muffin or cookie. I try to bake some vegan and low fat versions to keep the calories down. I also almost always add things like ground flax, or hemp to my baking to up the nutritional content.
  • And then supper depends on how hungry I am, and weather or not I had my smoothie for breakfast. It may be a soup and a slice of bread, or a green smoothie and a sandwich.
Of course, not all my days go so well. When Alban is home on days off, we tend to go to the city more and I do eat some junk food. (aka McD, and such). But since I started eating this way, I started being more aware of what my body has maby trying to tell me all these years. Now, when I eat red meat, no matter how small a portion, I have BAD indigestion for about 12 hours. And when I say indigestion, I mean my body hurts! So I don't eat any red meat anymore, it's just not worth that kind of pain. Also if I'm going to eat some chicken nuggets and such, I will have a side salad or baked potato with it and definitely no pop. Too much fried food all at once, has the same effect on me as red meat, and I'm not a fan of pop anyways. I guess my body has made it easier for me to make better choices in that department!

I may have "cleaned-up" my eating habits in that department, but I am still a sugar junkie. I love sugar. I have a really big sweet tooth. If I knew which tooth it was, I would go to the dentist to have it pulled out in a heart beat! lol. I have a Nibs fetish. Not the little pieces, but the long strands of nibs. Once a month, I just cant help myself, my hormones take over my brain and say, go buy the 400g bag and try to eat it all! Ha! I would usually feel not so good after eating such a huge amount of licorice, but lately, I actually cannot eat the whole bag. I just cant. It now lasts me 2 days instead of 2 hours. Now that is progress! Haha!
But here is another reason I am so interested in raw foods. They have "truly healthy" versions of sweet desert and cookies. Yes, you heard that right. Truly healthy. As in, no flour or processed sugar. Not even dairy or processed soy foods (soy cream cheese or tofu). And nothing needs to be cooked, how cool is that! Like ice cream made with raw cashew as a base, and things added to it to make it into chocolate ice cream. Or "cheesecake" also made with a base of raw nuts and other healthy ingredients. Dates, honey and/or agave nectar are used for sweeteners. I'm not sure how any of those recipes taste like, and although I'm sure "raw cheesecake" does not taste exactly like the real deal, if it taste sweet and yummy, and can actually look like cheesecake, then I'm all for it! As soon as I get a food processor, I will be able to make most of the raw desert recipes I see out there and I will let you all know how it turns out. And I will tell the truth, no matter the results!
Sorry, I got a bit carried away talking about food. That's nothing new, ha! So here are some recent example of what I ate:
This was tonight's supper. Zucchini cakes topped with plain yogurt, roasted baby potatoes and a salad.


Blueberry "green" smoothie (aka fruit and loads of spinach), and a avocado-tomato sandwich on artisan grainery bread.

Top left, clockwise: goji berries, grainery bread with a bit of margarine, cucumber and ztaziki sauce(not sure how to spell that), sugar snap peas and vegetarian "chicken stuffed with cheese and ham".

Spring mix salad with apple and walnuts and olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing (I had a strawberry green smoothie with it, it's just now showing in the picture)

So, here you have it. I am not starving and I think I eat enough of everything to make sure that I get all the vitamins and minerals I need. I even take a multi vitamin and omega supplements everyday. I dont think eating like this is for every one. For someone on a raw vegan diet, they would think I eat way too much "crap", and someone that eats more of a standard american diet, might think I eat really healthy. All I know is that this is at least 10 times better than how I was eating 6 months ago. To each his own. You have to do what works for you, at the point in life where you are at. I am loosing weight, my grocery bill is going down because I buy less meat than before, my skin is glowing, and I have more energy than I've had in a long time. (I seem to need less sleep). Now, if only I had a yard so I could grow my own veggies, that would be great! And easier on my wallet!
Note: I will keep posting recipes here, because I think it's fun to share recipes with people I care about. And most people I know, enjoy cooking/baking and are always on the lookout for new things to eat!

Embarassing moment!

June 22, 2009

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment in public? I hope I'm not the only one it happens to.

This past Saturday, I was at the store with my son, trying to find the perfect father's day card for my boyfriend. Then I spotted it. It was perfect! I bent down to pick it up (of course it just had to be on the bottom of the display) and that's when I heard the dreaded noise of material ripping! I checked the middle seam on my behind, but it was still intact, so I thought I must have imagined it. But then... I felt a breeze! The back pocket of my Capri's riped as if someone grabbed the bottom corner of it and pulled on it... and then some. You could see my underwear and all. "Just lovely" I thought to myself. My only pair of Capri's, and they were the favourite ones I had owned, ever!

But then, I decided to look on the bright side of things: I get to go shopping!

Has anything like this ever happened to you to or am I the only clumsy one around? lol.

Girl's night out!

June 21, 2009

I just HAVE to talk about what I did last Friday night... I had a girl's night out! Grant it, there was just two of us, but it still counts, right? My friend Lina wanted to go out for a few drinks, so we went to the bar at Boston Pizza (I live in a small town, so there is not allot of places to go out).


I had just bought this summer dress that same afternoon and was dying to find an excuse to wear it. So I got all dressed up, even straighten my hair and all.




We had a great time! I think we were only out for two hours. But I got to have a drink, a little something to eat, and lets not forget, great conversation without getting interrupted by my kids.
And can I just add, that this night was possible thanks to my incredible boyfriend! Not only did he stay home with the kids (thought they were in bed), while Lina and I were out, but he also babysat Lina's daughter since her plan for a babysitter fell through. Now that is a great night!

Organic new foods

June 16, 2009

Lately, food has been on my mind all the time. Well, more than ever, I mean. I know I mentioned in a past post that I try to buy more organic foods lately because of the issues my little guy has been having. (ie food sensitivities to preservatives, colours, and who knows what else I havent figured out yet).

So in trying to buy food as "pure" as possible, I have been visiting my health food store pretty regularly now. I am turning into such a food nerd lately, but I love it! Ha!

My last purchase at the health food store, was this:

Clockwise from the top left: Raw cacao powder, raw cacao nibs, and organic, unsweetened shredded coconut. (yes, now I am taking pictures of my health food store purchases. Told you I'm a food nerd! But I'm ok with that. I can think of worst things ;)

I still had some "regular" coconut left at home, but this organic one was on sale and I knew my "regular" one had some preservative in it, to prevent it from changing colour. A few days after my purchase, I needed it for a recipe, and I thought I would use up my old one before going into the bag of organic one. As soon as I opened my jar, the smell "hit me in the face". I had never noticed it before, but it did not exactly smell like fresh coconut! I decided to compare smells, and that was all I needed to decide to get rid of the old stuff and start using the organic coconut.

OK, it may turn yellowish after a while because it does not have any added chemicals to it, but so what? It tastes way better!

I have tried the raw cacao powder for a "raw chocolate mousse" but it tasted horrible. I dont think it was because of the cacao, but the rest of the ingredients just were not for me I think. But I will try it in other recipes soon and will let you know what I think. As for the raw cacao nibs, they have been used as an addition to my smoothie, as a crunchy topping. I have to say that raw cacao nibs have an interesting taste... not sure if I like it or not yet, but at that price, I will eat them until the bag is done!

Just because...

June 13, 2009

Another quick post...about friends.
I received this beautiful long stem rose from my friend Cheryl this week. Her daughter delivered it to me (they live across the hall from me) and said: Mom told me to give you this. So I thanked her and then called Cheryl right away.

Thank you for the beautiful rose... but why? And she said: Just because.

It put a smile on my face! How could it not? I am so lucky to have such great friends in my life!

I know it's cliché, but I put it on my piano beside my black and white frame of a dog I used to have. Dosent it look romantic?

I hate goodbyes (Part 2)

I just wanted to post a quick update. I did go visit Bienka that evening and it was great to be able to hang out with her before she left, even if it was just for about an hour. She was so swamped with trying to finish getting everything ready for the move. It made me appreciate even more the time we spent together that evening, because she took some of her precious time to spend it with me.

Of course, I ended up balling my eyes out before I even left. I was unable to stop myself, and after I got in my car and headed towards my home, I started crying even harder. So hard in fact, that I could barely see the road while I was driving. (Good thing I only live a couple minutes away and that there was no traffic!)

Like I mentioned in the last post, I had not cried in about 2 years. And I mean, not 1 tear! I've never had that problem in the past, I have always been very in touch with my emotions. If I needed to cry, I would cry and get it over with. It always feels so much better after you let it out! I think I started holding it in after we moved across country. I was far from all our families (aka my support system) , felt very alone as my husband works away 2 weeks at a time, and did not have many friends yet. I felt like I had to hold myself together for the sake of my kids. It turned my hart into a rock almost. Being unable to cry felt inhuman to me. And as a result, when something would happen, I would skip the sad emotions and jump straight to the "pissed off" stage. That's a recipe for disaster if you ask me. It made me an angry and upset mom, alot of the times.

Though I had alot of moments of happiness in that 2 year period, I can honestly say that crying that night was one of the best thing that has happened to me lately! I know it sounds strange, but now, I feel FREE! It's like I've been able to let go of all the things that were making me angry inside, and now I can just BE. Be a patient mom again, be a happy person, be at peace. I truly have seen a difference in the past few days... Strange, eh?

Well, as much as I miss Bienka already (I almost called her a couple times already, forgetting that she moved), now I know that I will be OK and that our friendship is strong enough to survive a move. We may not be able to do play dates and lunches every week anymore, or may not even be able to talk on the phone regularly either. But we will still be friends and in the end, that's all that matters!

I hate goodbyes!

June 9, 2009

Well, I guess the time has come for me to say goodbye...to a friend of mine that is. Bienka is moving tomorrow morning. So in a couple of hours, I am going over to her place for a visit and, well, to say goodbye. Not too fond of the idea.

Ironically, we met shortly after another friend of mine had moved away. What's even more ironic, is that, this other friend of mine that moved away last year is now back. Anyways, Bienka basically showed up in my life at a time where I felt sad and lonely. We quickly became good friends. We did alot of lunch/play dates with the kids. Even went Christmas shopping with her. The only "girl's day out" I had without kids in a whole year. We never ran out of conversation and I can be myself with her and not feel intimidated (like I tend to be sometimes with certain people).

I am going to miss her. I know she's not moving at the other end of the world, (it is an 11 hour drive though) and we still have phones and Internet and mail...but it's just not the same. I guess I'm used to be the one moving away, and getting all excited about my new life. I'm finding it way harder to be the one left behind!

So I'm going to go now and get ready for what I will call: "hanging out" with Bienka (and not "saying goodbye"). I'll let you know how it goes. But I just started crying as I'm typing this (and I don't think I cried at all in over 2 years), so I cant imagine it's going to go too well.

Hi

June 4, 2009

Poor little blog, I have SO neglected you lately!

I have just been crazy busy in the past week. My hubby was on days off from work, so of course he monopolized the computer while he was home, lol. But I've also been busy with play dates with friends, and alot of them. Also went for a few walks with the kids, mornings or afternoons at the park, and went for ice cream too (frozen yogurt actually, since my son and I are both lactose intolerant). So I guess I can say I have been busy having fun!

Today I went to the city with the kids to go shopping...grocery shopping that is. I always loved grocery shopping, I find it very relaxing. As long as the kids are not with me. But when they are with me, I find it as pleasant as "getting a root canal"! But when food supplies are running low at home, you gotta do what you gotta do. I could have just stayed in my town and go to one of the 2 grocery stores that we have here, but I decided to drive 45 minutes to the city to get groceries there because of the larger selection of organic foods. I know it sounds really silly, but I find that my son doesn't "react" as much when he eats organic cereals or crackers. Sugary cereals and "processed" crackers make him so hyperactive, it's extremely unpleasant to be around him.

So I'm going to go ahead right now and admit that I am turning into such a "nutrition dork", but I'm ok with that, ha! I got excited about stocking my fridge and fruit bowl with fresh produce, and I mean lots of it! Cukes, tomatoes, portobella mushrooms, sugar snap peas, organic spinach, blackberries, cantaloupes, bananas, avocado's, mango.... I think I got a little carried away. Well then again, maby not. I probably will need to buy more in a week, even if it's just me and the kids at home. We are just crazy about our produce here lately! I also got a bunch of organic snacks: crackers, cookies, granola bars... Whatever keeps my little guy in his "normal state", is worth it to me.

So that's my story for now. I should go now because it's getting late and I still have a few things to clean up around the house. Going to have another play date/lunch here with my friend tomorrow (more fun!) Oh and then Saturday, the kids and I are going to a birthday party...and Sunday I believe another friend of mine and her daughter may be coming here. I'll try to find some time to post again in the midst of all this fun and busy times. Oh, and I also have to find time to stop by the health food store and pick up a few things. It's my favourite place to shop lately...I'm telling you, nutrition dork! I'm a dork and I'm proud of it!

Have a great night everyone and I'll post again soon! More recipes to follow soon by the way, so keep an eye open for them!
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